Sunday, March 25, 2012

Minquiers and Ecrehos Case brief

Minquiers and Ecrehos Case (France and the UK at the ICJ 1953, p. 262)
  • The UK has sovereignty over them.
  • Issue phrased: Does the UK or FR have sovereignty? So as to preclude finding of res nullius.
  • Ct looks at how to establish title:
    • Showing of control.
    • Proximity to a country
    • Physical possession.
  • The evidence here is amorphous. Ct decided it the way it did probably b/c of the framing of the issue. Ct looked to historical factors and looked at the different/control possession showings the UK had been doing.
  • When you add all this together, ct somehow means the UK has it.
  • There were four choices in this case: UK had sovereignty; Fr had sovereignty; Res nullius; Condominium (both Fr and UK).
  • Might have been better to send to arbitration since issues weren’t so clear.
  • Some have suggested this case went to ct due to (1) fishing and (2) oil/gas—worry of exploitation. When you have a sensitive issue—better to go to the prestige of the ICJ.
  • Ct says self-determination isn’t possible—except for former colonies.
  • Problem w/ starting w/ history—b/c always someone declares that they were there first. (Yet ct started w/ history here!) This case is more historical—no real legal issues here.

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